Mildew in Sippy Cups

Updated on August 23, 2010
J.L. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
19 answers

Is there a way to effectively clean mildew from sippy cups or should I just throw them out and buy new ones? I just threw away 3 sippy's that were only a few months old, but the spouts were disgusting! Thanks for the input.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the help everyone! I am cleaning them properly! I actually use the brush from my Dr. Brown bottles to get into crevices but it doesn't always get everything out. We are in between houses right now and renting a townhouse until we can move into our new house. The townhouse does not have a dishwasher and it doesn't have air conditioning, which I think is contributing to the mildew. I like what Dan said about the travel coffee mugs. My daughter has been able to use an open cup on her own since she was about 12 months old, she is 2 1/2 now. I do give her regular cups, but it never fails, she always spills it. I've been trying to get away from the sippys with spouts and just use the ones that have a straw or a travel mug like cap because I do want to transition her away from a sippy. However, I do have a 9 month old so sippys will be around for a L. longer. Thanks again!

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answers from Raleigh on

I soak them in bleach, and the use pipe cleaners to get any hard to reach spots- like the spouts. That usually takes care of it.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My son is graduating out of sippy cups, but, I stopped buying the expensive ones because of that very problem. We just used the disposable (BPA free) ones over and over. However, with the few that I have left, I often use a toothpick, a piece of paper towel, and a light bleach solution. Then, rewash!

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answers from Austin on

Denture cleansing tablets..

Follow the directions. They will clean those caps perfectly, and sanitize them. Purchase the house brand.

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answers from Norfolk on

I do a hot water & bleach soak then run them through the dishwasher. Make sure you dry them well and let them drain. You may want to use a tiny scrubber (pipe cleaner, or the brushes for Dr. Brown bottles) to get the visible stuff off, but make sure you let them soak at least 15 minutes after all the visible stuff is gone.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Syracuse on

I occasionally pre-soak overnight in bleach water, then run them through the dish washer completely disasembled. I use pipecleaners on any hard to clean areas too.

How old is your L. one? We've been transitioning with our two year old to travel coffee mugs style cups. They're easier to clean, still offer some protection from spills, and my son feels like a big boy drinking his "coffee" like Mommy and Daddy.

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answers from Cleveland on

i would soak them in some bleach water for a day.. then soak them in water.. and rinse/wash them.. they were fine after that.. but it almost seems impossible to get into wash those spouts. I feel your pain. Good Luck :)

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answers from Huntsville on

Clorox Clean-Up!! Then wash really well with soap & water. Works like magic haha



answers from Harrisburg on

There should be absolutely no mildew in sippy cups if you're cleaning them properly and daily.

The inserts MUST be taken out and cleaned separately, whether by hand or in the dishwasher. And they should be taken out and rinsed between each use because liquid will stay trapped up in the spout and insert valve.

If using a dishwasher, take out the inserts and be sure to clean out any crud in the cracks and put them in the silverware basket and the cups on the top rack. Wash with your normal load.

If washing by hand, wash cup normally, then wash insert valves with soap and hot water by running your finger in the cracks of the valves thoroughly.

Dry well before use.

Do not use the same cup day after day. One cup a day and rinsing is fine but always take the valve out and run your finger in the cracks while rinsing. Only takes a second.

If your child is old enough to hold a cup and tip it back to drink then they are ready for an open cup at the table for their 3 meals, and their 2 snacks. Sippy cups were meant to be used when on the road but have become THE cup to use. But now children are wandering around the house eating and drinking instead of being contained at the table for all meals and snacks which is a better habit to be in.

K. B
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answers from Chicago on

for the amount of work to clean it out and be sure its gone i would toss it and start over lol. good luck



answers from Philadelphia on

try a ppipe cleaner. dr. browns makes them. you could also try soaking it in soapy water or even some vinegar. good luck!



answers from Austin on

When in doubt, throw it out!


answers from New York on

Throw them out and get new ones!



answers from Atlanta on

My husband and I were just b**ching about this problem this morning! It seems almost all of ours managed to get mildew/mold in them over the past few months, so we're buying new ones. I hate it too, because they're expensive! I've found it basically impossible to completely get the mold off. Some of it I can, but even using bottle brushes, wire skinny brushes to get into crevices, etc. and after soaking in scalding water and detergent for hours -still -it won't come off. I also don't really have the time (and you probably don't either) to devote to ridding all of them of all the mildew! It's kind of like bath toys -those have to be ditched every so often as well due to the same problem.



answers from Chicago on

I boiled mine every couple of days(like bottles) and pulled them out and let them fully air dry. We rotate cups every couple of days and let the boiled ones fully dry and not be in use about 3 days. We have had the same 6 sippy cups for about 2 years, but they have never been allowed to sit with liquids in them past meal times and if in between meals only water is allowed anyway so I put it in a very small cup with no lid. Water spills will dry and I don't want to find liquids anywhere in the house that grow mold, attract bugs or the child will drink accidentally and get sick.


answers from York on

I use q-tips to clean the tiny areas of my son's cups. I also make sure I soak them in hot soapy water daily. Even after all my efforts, I do still have to throw some away due to mold/mildew :( You are definitely not alone with this problem!



answers from Philadelphia on

If you do the playtex ones they have valves that you can buy. Take the valves out and take the tops and soak them in part bleach and water. More water than bleach. I would also take if you still have yours,the nipple washer you used for the bottles or use some q-tips to get up in the crevices. Make sure to also take out the valves and rinse around the hole that the valve goes into. Moisture gets trapped in there and causes the mildew. You can buy the replacement valves at any grocery store like pathmark,acme. Good luck.



answers from Kansas City on

I agree with throwing them out, but it seems like you're going through a lot of them!? I hand wash mine also and just let them air dry. Make sure they're dry before you close them up or put them away. I try not to let them sit unwashed for more than a couple hours and I just put a towel on my counter and leave them out until next time. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

I would just toss them and start over. The mole spores actually get into the plastic and even when you are not seeing them, they are there. You will have to do what I did when the kids were younger. Teach them now, when the drink is done, then the cup goes on the counter. Start it now and it will be a life time habbit. Then you have to at least rince them out right away, especially during this heat.



answers from Boston on

We only have 2 cups and I hand wash them (and occasionally use a pipe cleaner) but mostly I just let them dry out completely between uses. They never really make it into a cabinet closed up, they always are on a rack with the parts apart.

Gerber sells the trow away kind that does not have a valve, just the spout. They come in a pack with about 6 of them in primary colors, in the baby isle with all the sippies. They are more smoothly curved and easier to wash, and since they are meant to be thrown out I do not mind recycling them after many uses.

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